Former City Commissioner Al Schmidt details threats he faced for doing his job to Jan. 6 Committee
The now-Committee of Seventy President & CEO faced the ire of Trump during the 2020 election, and testified on day two of the Jan. 6 Committee hearings.
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Day two of the blockbuster House Select Jan. 6 Committee, which is shedding more light than ever on how the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021 came to be, featured a familiar face to Philadelphia taking the stand and detailing his experience as an election commissioner during the 2020 election.
Al Schmidt was the only Republican City Commissioner during the 2020 election. For his experience overseeing that election, he testified in front of the Jan. 6 Committee alongside election attorney Benjamin Ginsburg, and former Trump-appointed Georgia U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak on June 13, 2022.
Amid former President Donald Trump’s fraught attempts to stop the counting of votes during the election and further unsuccessful attempts to find fraud after the election, Schmidt became a household name as he upheld the process in the face of growing threats.
Those threats exploded after Trump mentioned Schmidt by name in a tweet, calling him RINO (standing for ‘Republican in name only’) and attempting to tie him to the unfounded claims of voter fraud that he continues to make to this day. Those claims then, and remain today, unfounded.
“On some level, it feels almost silly to talk about a tweet,” said Schmidt in the hearing, “but we can really see the impact that they have.”
Schmidt said that before Trump sent the tweet, the threats were “pretty general in nature,” but after, they turned way more personal.
“The threats became much more specific, much more graphic, and they included not only me by name, but included members of my family by name, their ages, our address, pictures of our home. Just every bit of detail you could imagine,” said Schmidt. “That was what changed with that tweet.”
The House Select Jan. 6 Committee was formed on July 1, 2021, featuring seven Democrats and two Republicans, and has spent the last 11 months investigating all that went into the attack on the U.S. capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, spurred by the election fraud claims made by former President of the U.S. Donald Trump.
In that time, it has interviewed a number of people that were once part of the former president’s campaign and inner circle, who had the best knowledge of Trump’s state of mind as he lost the election. Some clips of those interviews are being aired during the committee’s public hearings, which began on Thursday, June 9.
Day one of the committee’s public hearings went on during prime time on the night of June 9. The second public hearing happened midday on Monday, June 13.
Schmidt’s testimony supported not only the argument that the claims of election fraud were totally unfounded — something known both inside and outside of Trump’s inner circle — but also the direct impact of the president’s actions to incite violence with those claims.
The former Philadelphia City Commissioner was one of many Republican elected officials to face the ire of the former president in states he lost in 2020.